The African Union Development Agency NEPAD (AUDA-NEPAD) and the Ecobank Group, its strategic partner on the development of the 100,000 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Initiative, are set to launch the financing component as from May 27, 2021.
AUDA-NEPAD launched the 100,000 MSMEs programme to accelerate African economic transformation, provide the needed skills, and build resilience against the economic shock triggered by the global pandemic.
The ‘100,000 MSMEs’ initiative seeks to build the capacity of 1,000,000 enterprises in Africa through entrepreneurial and business training to improve access to finance and new markets while establishing networks for support and incubation to bolster their success.
“Across the globe, MSMEs are the biggest and the best engine of innovation, social transformation and economic development and growth. AUDA-NEPAD is deeply convinced that Africa’s structural transformation will be driven by youth and women led businesses and innovations,” Amine Idriss Adoum AUDA-NEPAD, Director of Programme Delivery & Coordination Directorate said in a statement issued in Accra yesterday.
AUDA-NEPAD and the Ecobank Group announced their collaboration in May 2020 and agreed to tackle three main pillars in supporting MSMEs in coming out of the devastating economic impact of COVID-19: namely, MSME Academy, MSME Finance and MSME Marketplace.
The MSME Academy was launched in August 2020 in eight countries.
Both institutions will now proceed to launch the MSME Finance pillar in the same countries, namely Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Togo.
A total sum of $ 2.0million will be extended in the form of working capital to beneficiaries who meet the set criteria across the eight (8) countries in this first phase.
JosephineAnan-Ankomah,Ecobank Group Executive Commercial Banking said “After an unprecedented year in 2020, the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt across African economies with an increased and urgent need to support MSMEs Businesses which are the backbone of our economies. As a financial institution, we reaffirm our commitment to support the ‘100,000 MSMEs’ Initiative. Following the successful launch of the MSME Academy, we are now going ahead with the financing component.”
“We look forward to celebrating the businesses who will successfully go through this training programme and who will meet the criteria for financial support,” she said.
The objectives of the 100,000 MSME Finance are to expand the reach of the initiative to youth across the continent and enable linkages into the wider entrepreneurship ecosystem that benefit the youth after training.
It is also to generate relevant data on MSMEs to enhance evidence-based policy recommendations to AU decision bodies as well as facilitate engagement with ecosystem partners such as financiers and links to trade and markets and, enable bottom-up engagement with youth and women entrepreneurs to ensure that youth and gender development policies benefit from their voice and participation as citizens of the continent.
BY TIMES REPORTER